THE PRIMARY REASON why Monarch High wide receiver Calvin Ridley has earned and accepted a
scholarship offer from national
power Alabama is that he is a fast
and elusive pass catcher. But he’s
much more than that, according to
Monarch coach Calvin Davis.
“He wants to be great at every-
thing,” Davis said. “I’ve seen him
block guys all the way to the track
[way out of bounds]. It’s rare that
you see a superstar-type [receiver]
who is willing to sacrifice his body
Ridley, a 6-foot- 1, 175-pounder,
is deceptively strong. He can bench
press 225 pounds. But Alabama
has other things in mind for Ridley
Davis said the Alabama coaches
have compared Ridley to Amari Cooper, a former Miami Northwestern
wide receiver who made a smooth
transition to college ball the past couple of years, becoming perhaps the
Crimson Tide’s biggest playmaker.
Ridley, who transferred from Hollywood Chaminade to Monarch in time
for his junior season, first caught
Davis’ attention against Douglas
early in the season.
Monarch’s coaches called a slant
pattern; Ridley caught it, split two
safeties and took off for a 75-yard
“I saw a seam and hit it as hard
as I could,” Ridley said. “My team-
mates said I was running pretty
fast. All I knew was that we were
behind, and we needed to score.”
Monarch came back to win that
game, and Davis said Ridley started
getting major scholarship offers
within three weeks – Alabama,
Florida State, Miami and more.
By the time the season was over,
the kid they call “Showtime” had
39 catches for 1,300 yards and 12
touchdowns. He also scored five
TDs on kickoff returns.
Ridley’s favorite hobby is paintball,
and that makes sense. He seems like
a sure-shot college star in the making.
“He’s got great speed and athletic ability,” Davis said. “He’s a good
route runner and has good hands.
He doesn’t have a weakness that I
can think of.”
WR, TALLAHASSEE LINCOLN
AS A FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK on the Tallahassee Lincoln junior varsity, a broken right thumb made it virtually impossible for
John Burt to take snaps and effectively
throw the football.
So he made a suggestion to his coaches:
“Let me play receiver,” Burt said at the time.
The suggestion was accepted and now,
three years later, Burt is a 6-foot- 4, 185-pound
senior receiver with scholarship offers from
Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Florida, LSU
“As you can see, it was a good decision,”
As a sophomore, Burt was mainly used on
said Burt, a humble young man who speaks
with a rather unique upward lift at the end of
his sentences. “I do miss quarterback a little
bit. But I never really saw myself as a quarter-
back. I have a better future as a receiver.”
Burt caught 38 passes for 715 yards and
nine touchdowns last season, which was his
first year as a starter. Lincoln made it to the
regional semifinals in the playoffs.
special teams because Lincoln had Division I
receivers ahead of him – players now at Geor-
gia and Yale.
But Burt still made an impact, taking the
opening kickoff of the Class 7A state final 95
yards for a touchdown. St. Thomas Aquinas
rallied to win that game, 41-25.
Even though he is now a starter, Burt continues to star on special teams. He is his team’s
kick and punt returner, and is the edge guy on
the punt-coverage team and the safety or last
line of defense on kickoff coverage. In addition, he has blocked a combined total of six
field goals and extra points in his career.
“Blocking kicks is how I got started,” Burt
said. “The coaches asked who wanted to do
it and I thought it was pretty fun. I have long
arms, so that helps.”
Lincoln coach Yusuf Shakir said it’s rare
to find a star player who is so willing to play
“John also plays cornerback and safety, and we
use him when the opponent has a tall receiver,”
said Shakir, who is a former Lincoln linebacker.
“He has great athletic ability and under-
“He is a great all-around player and he has a
knack for blocking kicks. A lot of kids don’t want
to lay out to block kicks, but John doesn’t care.”
Burt, who has a 3. 1 GPA and plans on study-
ing architecture or business in college, also runs
track. He was second at state last season in the
110-meter hurdles and also in the high jump.
stands football,” Shakir said. “Sometimes
guys are one or the other. He’s both.”